Stomatitis is a medical term that basically means an inflamed mouth. There are several different types of somatitis and not all of them are well understood. Research has yet to find the actual cause of canker sores, for example, although there are many contributing factors, including stress, biting your cheek, irritation, chewing tobacco and gum disease, which could bring on a cankerk sore. In so many words, there are many contributing culprits, but no specific culprit to blame at this point.
Regardless of what’s causing your mouth pain, you probably want to do whatever you can to treat it. So, let’s talk about some of the most common causes of mouth inflammation and what you can do about them.
What Causes Stomatitis?
There are a number of different kinds of stomatitis. One of the most common kinds is a canker sore. Canker sores are a form of ulcer that develops in the mouth, usually in the lips and gums. Canker sores are often painful, especially when touched.
Cold sores, another kind of stomatitis, are also common. Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex that can be passed orally by kissing or sharing drinks with someone who has the virus. More than half of Americans ages 14 to 49 carry the virus. Furthermore, when the cold sores retreat, they can reappear in the future, because the virus itself doesn’t leave the body.
Cold sores usually develop as blisters around the lips or in the mouth. Usually, cold sores appear after an illness or frequently during periods of stress.
Vitamin deficiencies are also considered a potential trigger for cold sores, particular deficiencies of B-12. This vitamin deficiency can cause the tissue inside to swell, often painfully.
Sores in or around the mouth can make it difficult to eat or drink or even speak. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to help.
How Can You Treat It?
Treatment for this condition depends on what, specifically, is causing the issue. For canker sores, there a cure, but sometimes gargling with antibacterial mouthwash can help remove bacteria from the area, which can prevent infections and help speed healing. You could see a dentist who can use a form of laser treatment to resolve symptoms. This works very quickly. Although, in most cases of canker sores, they go away by themselves within a few days, allowing you to avoid an expensive trip to the dentists.
You can reduce the severity of the pain by avoiding foods or drinks that aggravate the sores such as foods heavy in citric acid or spicy foods. It is recommended that you avoid chewing gum or using chewing tobacco.
Most cold sores also heal within a week, which means treatment is usually limited to using antibiotic ointment to help prevent infections.
In cases of stomatitis caused by autoimmune conditions, the treatment options are a bit wider. Most forms of treatment for autoimmune conditions rely on treating the inflammation of the tissue. And there are a number of different medications that doctors can prescribe to accomplish this.
The first is basic over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen. These belong to a class of drugs called NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They work to fight inflammation by blocking the body’s production of an inflammation producing enzyme.
In addition, doctors often prescribe corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are a hormone that your body naturally produces in response to inflammation. They signal that your body should shut off the inflammatory response. But your doctor can also prescribe synthetic forms of the hormone to help bolster your body’s ability to fight inflammation.
Finally, one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for autoimmune conditions is a type of drug called an immunosuppressant. Immunosuppressant drugs, used to stop your immune system from rejecting an implanted organ, work by reducing the activity of the immune system. This means that your cells won’t produce as many antibodies. The fewer antibodies there are to attack the tissue in the mouth, the less inflammation there will be.
These drugs do carry certain risks, however. Because they reduce the strength of the immune system, they leave you more vulnerable to infections. It’s best to weigh the risks and benefits with your doctor, as you would with any medication.
So, what do you think? Do you suffer from a sore mouth? Do you think it’s related to fibromyalgia? What do you do to treat the symptoms? Let us know in the comments.